Love to Move helps Mike to speak again

After a year of doing Love to Move, Mike from Cambridgeshire has managed to develop his speech through regular engagement in the programme.

Mike, who was diagnosed with early onset dementia seven years ago, lives with his wife, Lesley near Huntingdon.

The couple started our Love to Move programme just after the first national lockdown last year. They have been taking part in weekly sessions with one of our deliverers, Kim Hall who has noticed a considerable improvement with Mike’s speech and physical abilities.

“Initially, Mike was very limited in what he could do,” Kim began. “He struggled with the rhythm, coordination and bilateral asymmetry sections however, he was still really engaged with the programme and with help from Lesley, he followed along with my sessions.”

“After a few months of taking part in sessions a few times a week, Mike began to verbalize in sections of the class. He began to sing some of the songs and began repeating words that Lesley and myself where saying. Mike then developed into being able to say words independently during the class. He began to find words for each letter of the alphabet particularly focusing on names and then countries and he can now independently say a word for every letter sometimes even managing two words. A few weeks ago, Mike actually said ‘I cannot find a word for that letter’, the first time I have heard him say a sentence!”

“Mike has now really improved physically. Lesley was previously a PE teacher so her support and input has been extremely valuable as we have pushed the boundaries physically with Mike.”

Lesley added: “Over the last few months, it has been noticeable that my husband is responding more to certain parts of the programme.”

“He actively listens to when the group are chatting; this being one of the few opportunities he has to ‘socialise’.”

“His enjoyment of the programme is evident in his concentration and his efforts to replicate the movements, actions and words.  He has always been a physically active person and this programme is helping to maintain this when other activities he used to participate in are no longer possible.”

This week (17th – 23rd May) is Dementia Awareness Week. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, nearly 1 million people live with dementia in the UK and their families are struggling to get the support and care that they need and deserve.

The British Gymnastics Foundation has helped 440 people to come through the Love to Move training course to deliver the programme to thousands of people living with dementia across the country.

See more about our Love to Move programme below.